First for the (partly fictional) background:
In late 1812 Napoleon's Grand Armée retreated from Russia after their defeat during the French invasion. At that time Lieutenant General Ludwig York von Wartenburg lead a Prussian corps which represented the rearguard of the French army. During the march and after some minor skirmishes he lost connection to the other French forces and became isolated. Under the pressure of his subordinate officers and initiated by General Carl von Clausewitz who was in service of the Russian Empire York signed the Convention of Tauroggen on 30th December 1812 and made a separate ceasefire with Russia.
Thereafter the story of the campagne took an alternative way:
The ceasefire caused kind of atmosphere of departure in Prussia. The French tried to scotch this by attacking York's headquarter and taking him and Clausewitz imprisoned. After a propaganda trial both were executed as traitors. Nevertheless the flame of freedom was ignited in Prussia. While well-known statesmen protested against the alliance with France, August von Gneisenau took a secret mission to Russia, Sweden and England. He convinced the allies that it was the right moment to lead the crucial blow against Napoleon. After von Gneisenau delivered an impressive speech in front of the Houses of Parliament, the English decided to set up an expiditionary force to support Prussia. These troops landed in Kolberg in Western Pomerania and conquered the town (which the French besieged five years ago) and the surrounding harbour and fort. (This scenario was fought last year.)
Now the French realized the rising pressure and gathered their troops to destroy the English bridgehead. They sent the 10th Division under the command of General Dominique-Joseph René Vandamme and assigned support of large reserves of the III. French Corps and a Polish Division that should defend Vandamme's flank against the allied reinforcements (Russian, Austrian and Prussian troops). Meanwhile the British forcers lead by General Rowland Hill fortified Kolberg and prepared themselves to hold the town until reliefed by their allies...
|Initial position on Saturday.|
- An English Division under command of General Rowland Hill holding Kolberg
- The 10th Division of General Vandamme attacking Kolberg
- A French Brigade (mainly Swiss troops in Napoleon's service) holding the village Henkenhagen
- A Polish Division holding the villages Bullenwinkel, Degow and Fritzow
- Allied relief approaching from the East:
- Prussian troops in the North along the coast
- Russian and Austrian troops advancing towards Bullenwinkel and Degow
Because I wasn't present on Saturday I don't know the exact deployment. But it must have been something like this.
The grey area is kind of abstract. It wasn't built up as table but it held the French camp and their reserves. The French and Polish players were able to ask for reserves by sending ADCs and then based on a set of special rules they got the reinforcements by way of the roads from the grey area onto the battlefield.
The table we played on was enormous. One of the umpires told me that it measured about 70 square feet. The two longer sides had about 6 metres while the shorter ones had about 3 metres. When I arrived on Sunday morning the table was packed with excellent terrain pieces, nice buildings and absolutely beautiful miniatures.
Take a look at this long shot and judge the impression yourselves:
|The enourmus 70 square feet table...|
Michael, one of the English leaders, was present on Saturday only. Therefore I got his place on the battlefield and took command of the brigade under Major General Sir Denis Pack. It consisted of four line infantry bataillons which were based at the fortress of Kolberg and behind the entrechment. Additionally Axel, the English supreme commander, put two batteries of 12 pdr. guns and a battery of RHA Rocket Troops under my command.
So take a look at the town of Kolberg and the fort guarding the East. In the background you see the southern entrechments and the Wolfsberg where the French heavy artillery took stand:
|The town of Kolberg with French troops advancing from the front (South) and from the left (East).|
|Kolberg's fort manned by the English.|
|The French artillery on top of the Wolfsberg.|
|French Guard artillery shooting at the fort.|
Read more about this epic event in Part 2: Here.